County Championship: Kyle Abbott & Dale Steyn set up likely Hants win at Worcester
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Blackfinch New Road (day two):|
|Hampshire 191: Northeast 48; Barnard 6-50 & 176: Alsop 64; Parnell 4-23, Tongue 4-38|
|Worcestershire 120: Mitchell 41; Steyn 3-25 & 120-8: Whiteley 37*; Abbott 5-35|
|Worcestershire (3 pts) need a further 128 runs to beat Hampshire (3 pts)|
Hampshire's Kyle Abbott took 5-35, including a hat-trick, against old club Worcestershire but the Pears survived to take the game into a third day.
On a day of 24 wickets at New Road, the Pears, 68-4 overnight, were bowled out for 120, Dale Steyn taking 3-25.
Wayne Parnell and Josh Tongue then each claimed four scalps as Hampshire were bowled out for 176.
But, despite South African duo Abbott and Steyn getting among the wickets again, Worcestershire closed on 120-8.
After a dogged 33 from England contender Joe Clarke, Ross Whiteley has so far reached 37 in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 38 with Worcestershire's overseas player Parnell (17 not out).
They need a further 128 runs on day three to beat their Division One relegation rivals. But, thanks chiefly to Abbott, who began the home side's second innings with the first-ball dismissal of Daryl Mitchell, Hampshire remain short-odds favourites to claim only their third County Championship win of the season.
This round of games began on Tuesday with just nine points separating the bottom four clubs. But, if backmarkers Worcestershire were to lose, they would be 24 points behind Hampshire - and 17 points adrift of Lancashire, who picked up 11 points from their remarkable tie against Somerset at Taunton.
Worcestershire bowling coach Alan Richardson told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"We were really hoping to build on the start that Daryl Mitchell had given us on day one, to get up to at least parity with Hampshire, maybe get a little bit of a lead, and then make it into a one-innings game.
"That didn't quite happen this morning. They've got a very good attack, three international quick bowlers on a wicket that has probably assisted them the whole way through so it has made it really challenging for our guys.
"Looking at Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards, who have been around a long time, highly skilled bowlers, potentially you would say that has been the difference, just that experience. Dale Steyn's second-innings new-ball spell was always going to test our guys and was one he relished by the look of it."
Hampshire's Kyle Abbott told BBC Solent:
"It was quite surreal really, three different dismissals, which kind of sums up the pitch really. It is the first of my professional career so I was pretty stoked up by it, I must admit.
"On that pitch there is every dismissal possible and the scores reflect the way the pitch is playing. Every ball I felt I was going to get a nick through to the keeper or slips, or bowl someone, or have an lbw. It is quite hard for the batsman.
"In these situations it is always nice to set the tone and, with Dale Steyn, the experience we have got, the adrenalin is pumping. With that first wicket (of Daryl Mitchell), you can feel the hush across the ground and immediately doubt in the opposition head."
Why do Hampshire have an all-overseas bowling attack?
- South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, 35, is their one permitted overseas player, in only his fourth County Championship match following his mid-season arrival as replacement for injured Test team-mate Hashim Amla, who is now playing in the Caribbean Premier League.
- Fellow countryman Kyle Abbott, 31, who Worcestershire had as their overseas player in 2016, has now retired from international cricket and is signed as a Kolpak player.
- Fidel Edwards, 36, also plays now as a Kolpak signing following the end of his international career with the West Indies.
- USA-born former Victoria bowler Holland, 27, who won Australian show Cricket Superstar in 2012, is a British passport holder through his English father.
- The term Kolpak signing entered cricket early in the new millennium following a court ruling won by Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak, allowing sportsmen from countries that have free trade agreements with the European Union the right to work and live in the EU.